Special Character Zones
May 1, 2013Ben Ross | Improving the Unitary Plan for Local Centres and Town Centres SpecialCharacter Zones and Community Master PlansAbridged Version 1.01
Improving the Unitary Plan for Local Centres and Town CentresSpecial Character Zones and Community Master Plans Abridged Version 1.0
Why do we need Special Character Zones?
The Auckland Council Unitary Plan (UP) takes a standardised “broad brush” approach
with only asmall number centre classifications and residential and commercial zonings. This approach does notsuit all centres and suburbs and is not really necessary to achieve the objectives of the UP. Inparticular, we need a mechanism to allow for more local input to protect local character. St Heliersand Mt Eden are examples of where the SCZ might be used but there are others.
What is a Special Character Zone?
Special Character Zones would be independent zones in the Unitary Plan. The Special Character Zonewould not be tied to the requirements of any centre classification nor tied to any residential andcommercial zone types currently in the draft Unitary Plan. Policies for land use in the SCZ would begoverned by a Community Master Plan developed by the Local Board and endorsed by Council.A Special Character Zone give recognition to a specific area that has character or significance thatmakes it stand apart from the rest of the city. Such significance or character could be from:
Character arising from history and heritage
Physical Geography or Location (e.g. close proximity to the coast or a volcano or potentialto hinder view shafts to a isthmus volcano (Mt Eden)
Human Geography (having significant cultural character that makes the area unique fromthe rest of the city
To have a Special Character Zone applied would require the Local Board and community in questionto justify to Council the need for a SCZ in terms of the three points above and lack of fit with thestandard Unitary Plan approach. Once an area has been designated as a Special Character Zone ittriggers the requirement for the Local Board concerned to draw up a Community Master Plan with(say) 6 months to control the land allocation/development/utilisation for all land and buildingsinside the SCZ.
Special Character Zone
In my submission to the Auckland Plan and especially around areas that had CMCP’s, I would
create a surrounding
“Fringe Zone” that acts as a transition between the
SCZ and wider areas of Auckland. You would otherwise get this boundary effect between the two distinct planningmethodologies that would stick out like a sore thumb visually. These fringe or transition zones would